A Moscow Metro station (photo by Andos_pics/Flickr)

A Moscow Metro station (photo by Andos_pics/Flickr)

Muscovites may now download books by Russia’s literary giants for free while they wait for the subway. Thanks to an initiative of Moscow Metro, the city’s public transportation authority, riders can download ebooks to their smartphones and tablets by scanning a QR code on the subway platform. The free digital library includes more than 100 works of Russian literature, among them Nikolai Gogol’s Nose, Alexander Pushkin’s Egyptian Nights, Anton Chekhov’s About Love, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Mr. Prokharchin, the Guardian reports.

The initiative has been deployed in a few of the city’s busiest stations, including Dinamo, Belorussky, and Krasnye Vorota, according to the site QR Code Press. It will eventually spread to all of the system’s 195 metro stations, and is already available on about 700 of the city’s trams, trolleys, and buses.

Complimentary e-books aren’t the only amenity metro-riding Muscovites have to look forward to: Every train car in the system is due to be equipped with free wireless internet by the end of 2014. The question then will be: Who’s going to bother downloading a book when they could just as easily watch YouTube?

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Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...